Your content is like a baby. You invested time, money, and headache to nurture it with keyword research, backlinks, and quality storytelling. You raised it well, and now, it’s ready to soar high into the top ranks of search results. They grow up so fast.
The thing with content is, like kids (and adults too, for that matter), there’s always room for improvement. Any responsible parent ensures that their child continues to improve and grow. That’s exactly what you’re doing by implementing long-tail keywords in your content.
Focusing on long-tail keywords is a great way to bolster SEO performance for your content marketing. “How?” and “why?” you may ask. Why, what a coincidence, in this 6-minute read, you’re going to learn:
- What exactly are long-tail keywords
- Why they’re important for SEO success
- How to find juicy long-tail terms & implement them into your content
Let’s get started.
What Are Long-tail Keywords?
Let’s get the ABCs out of the way. Long-tail keywords are key search terms composed of three or more words–unlike short-tail keywords that are one to two keywords long. You enter long-tail keywords in search engines when you're looking for something specific.
Individually, each long-tail query may not pull considerable traffic–that’s why they’re often neglected. But, it's surprising to see the noticeable surge in traffic for long-tail questions when you add them all up.
Why Use Long-tail Keywords?
We’re not pushing you to use long-tail keywords just to make them feel included. Although if they had feelings, we probably would. There are three core benefits to implementing long-tail terms for your SEO performance. We cover them here:
Long-tail Keyword Opportunities Build Topical Authority
Topical authority is a search engine’s measurement of how relevant your site’s content is to a particular keyword. The more content that’s optimized around your niche’s keywords, the more authority you build in that area in Google’s eyes, and thus you’ll rank higher in search results.
By rooting out missing long-tail keyword opportunities and adding relevant information in response to them, you’ll be able to capture more missing keyword impressions and rank higher on search results for those queries.
Ranking for Long Tail Keywords is Easier
Compared to short-tail “head terms,” long-tail keywords are significantly less competitive because not as many people search for them. So, when you optimize and revolve your content around the long-tails, you can get a much easier rank for them on the search engine results page.
Let’s go through a quick example with the keyword: “KPIs” (key performance indicators). If you type in the head term “KPI” in the Google search bar, you’re competing with almost 77 million results:
But, if we get more specific on the type of KPI by searching “most important search KPIs,” we appeal to a particular demographic interested in SEO performance tracking for success:
By revolving content around this long tail, you just need to outrank about 7 million results instead of 77 million. That’s a 91% decrease in competition. Sweet stuff.
Higher chance of winning a featured snippet on rank 1-page 1
Google loves long-tail keywords as H2s because they can match specific search intents quickly and efficiently through bite-size pieces of information optimized for long-tail queries.
For example, “Why is SEO important” is a long-tail query that you can frame as an H2 in your blog post. If our answer is direct, thorough, accurate, and keyword optimized just under 40 words, we can expect this bit of info to be eligible for a featured snippet when someone uses that exact query.
Long-tail Keywords Tend to Have Higher Conversion Rates and Can Be Excellent for Audience-Building
Compared with head terms, long-tail keywords have a 2.5X higher chance of converting. That means long-tail search terms boost CTR. Whether conversion means getting a customer or an email subscription, ranking for long-tail keywords provides the perfect opportunity to increase brand visibility through great content or provide answers to very specific questions that your ideal buyer personas may have.
Long-tail Keywords Provide New Content Opportunities
Long-tail keywords are important for your website because they give you a lot of content ideas.
Because they've got a very targeted search query, you're able to create unique content types for each keyword, resolving their specific need.
Also, by covering multiple topics in the same category, you're building topical authority, boosting your rankings for your primary term. The more pages you create are also great for orders because Google sees websites with many pages as authentic.
If you're trying to rank for a long-tail keyword like "Keto Diet,” you won't be able to cover all the topics in a single post. The best thing to do is support the head term with other supporting blogs. There are plenty of long-tail keywords for the keto diet that you can use and turn into individual posts.
How to Find Long-tail Keywords
Alright, it’s time to get out of school and get our hands dirty. At this point, you know that long-tail keywords are phrases with three or more words that people punch in on search engines.
You also know that your site can rank easier because of less keyword competition, convert more users, and get content inspiration.
But, how exactly do you find these long-tail keywords? Glad you asked:
Beginner’s method: Google Search Recommendations
Before we get into the heavy-duty SEO reporting tools, there are free avenues for your long-tail keyword phrase research. By simply using three Google search engine features, you can get a nice list of long-tail keywords ready to implement. That said, you won’t see the specific search volumes of these suggestions, and some of them may be too hard for you to tackle. This method’s free, but it’s also taking a short in the dark.
- Google Autocomplete: type in the main head term and let Google’s search suggestions estimate the rest for you. The autocomplete recommendations are based on millions of bits of search data that can, on a macro level, analyze trends to see what’s most popular.
- ‘People Also Ask’: After making a query on Google, you'll see a list of questions under a box called "People Also Ask." These are long-tail keywords you can use in your content.
- Related Searches: Scrolling to the bottom of the page, you’ll be greeted with more search suggestions that Google thinks you may want to learn next/more about. These are only more long-tail phrase suggestions that you can leverage. Check it out:
Using SEO Scout to Find Great Opportunities to Rank Higher and Boost Clicks
With SEO Scout, you can find long-tail opportunities and implement them in a way that increases clicks. In this section, we highlight the different ways you can find long-tail phrases using our reporting tool:
- Missing Keyword Opportunities
After grouping hundreds of long-tails you rank for, SEO Scout splits each long-tail into the individual words you’re missing from your title, subheadings, and content–which can be filtered and highlighted by impressions. If you can, add these terms back into your content so you can rank better for related terms.
For example, on the page below, one of the missing words from our long-tails appears to be “online.” By simply hovering your pointer over the word, you’re presented with all the potential long-tail variants that have the word “online” in them.
You can edit existing content to cater to these keywords or create new articles as a part of your content marketing. By doing so, you a) claim a portion of those missing impressions and b) strengthen your topical authority because more of your site’s content supports relevant topics (indicated by keywords) in your niche.
- Keyword Explorer
In SEO Scout’s Keyword Research Tool, you can punch in the main head term just like you would do in a Google search bar. The difference lies in what you do thereafter: a couple of keyword filters are waiting to be configured. Set the Word Count filter “from 3 words” since we established that long-tail keywords are classified as three or more words.
Voila. You have all the possible long-tail keywords starting from three words or more.
Now, although these are long-tail keywords, admittedly, some may still be highly competitive. If you want to root out the low-volume long tails that bring decent traffic, leverage the Search Volume filter and set the keyword finder to find phrases below a search threshold.
For example, you can set the
to less than 500 in volume and use those keywords in your content to rank for the less competitive queries and pick up as much traffic juice as possible.
- Questions & Answers Finder
For specific question long-tail keywords, there’s a dedicated tab on SEO Scout. Simply type in your head term–in our case, it’s “search KPIs” and let our AI algorithm find hundreds of questions and answers on the internet that you can choose to include in your content.
- Question Keyword Current Rankings & Optimization
We just went over two long-tail keyword discovery methods. What if you want to find long-tail keywords your website is already ranking for? By doing so, you can root out the long tails that you can optimize for the prime ranking position.
Go to the Page Performance tab, then click on the desired page. From there, you will see the Preset Filters box, click it, and press Question Keywords.
For instance, similar to the information on the image below, you’ll find several question terms that you are not ranking highly for.
The Content Opportunities Filter
SEO Scout has a special preset filter called
Here, you can see your biggest keywords by impression that
appear in the title, header, or subheadings of the page. You can star the keywords with three words or more through some eyeballing–those can serve as your new content ideas to optimize for long-tail keywords.
Optimizing Your Pages for Long-tail Keywords
What’s the point in finding all those long-tail keywords if you’re not going to improve your content with them? With your list of long-tail phrases, distribute them through your pieces of content for optimization and rankings in different ways:
- Use long-tail keywords for h2/h3 headings. Remember when we advised this earlier in the article? It’s best practice to win that featured snippet spot in rank 1 page 1 of Google. Doing so tells Google (and readers) directly what the content below entails.
- Add FAQ Sections. Many long-tail keywords, by nature of curious searchers, are phrased as questions. Highlight the question keywords frequently searched for and dedicate a spot for them in your FAQ section to optimize your site for that query.
- Anchor text optimization for internal and external links. Anchor text is attached to a hyperlink that tells google and the reader what the result will lead to. By nature, making it short isn’t doing the link justice. The best practice for anchor texts is long-tail keywords that sufficiently summarize the result and indicate relevance to search engines.
- Dedicate unique pages or sections to low-volume “topical” long-tails. Many of the long-tail keywords you will find during your keyword research have a highly focused search query that may warrant unique content to resolve the specific need. That could mean a short-medium-length blog post, an FAQ spot, and most importantly, a conversion-focused landing page since, again, long-tails yield a higher conversion rate because users are typically more ready for purchase.
Long-tail keywords are hidden gems. Optimizing for these three-words-or-more phrases can help your content rank higher and easier, convert more users, and provide new ideas for your content marketing–snowballing SEO Success.
To ensure an optimal concentration of long-tail and short-tail keywords in your content, SEO Scout’s Content Editor can monitor your keyword usage and remind you to use each keyword in its optimal range. It also scores the readability of your content because what good are your sentences if users need to re-read them three times to get the message?
You can try out SEO Scout’s long-tail keyword researching capabilities (and everything else it has to offer) for yourself with the 7-day FREE trial. Get out there and find some long-tail keywords.